Barclays faces trial over $3 billion Qatar loan

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The announcement follows a decision by the SFO in June previous year to charge Barclays PLC, or the unit's parent group, over the same alleged offence.

The regulators are already separately weighing up how to respond to attempts by Barclays Chief Executive Jes Staley to unmask a whistleblower's identity.

In response, Barclays said: "Barclays PLC and Barclays Bank PLC intend to defend the respective charges brought against them".

Barclays says it "does not expect there to be an impact on its ability to serve its customers".

The BBC reports that Barclays borrowed 12-billion pounds from state-owned Qatar Holdings in 2008 to avoid a government bailout.

The SFO investigation arose amid concerns that Barclays may have been in effect lending itself money, known as "financial assistance", which is illegal.

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Under that deal Barclays loaned £2.3bn back to Qatar Holdings and it is that part of the transaction that the charge of unlawful financial assistance is related to. They were also charged with conspiracy to commit fraud.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has charged Barclays' (LON:BARC) operating arm over the lender's Qatar fundraising during the financial crisis when the group turned to Middle Eastern investors to avoid a state-funded bail-out.

Analysts at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods said that while it was unhelpful for Barclays that the SFO has added charges, it should not change the dynamics of the case materially.

In addition to a corporate charge, the SFO is prosecuting four of Barclays' then senior executives, including former boss John Varley.

Barclays had secured a number of funding channels in 2008 to sidestep a taxpayer rescue, including from Qatari, Abu Dhabi and Singaporean investors - but the way in which the bank secured the cash has since come under scrutiny.